Starting together with your hypothesis, you would possibly not consider it this manner,
but every SEO optimization that you are making is trying to impact one among three mechanisms, and these three mechanisms are the sole way we will improve organic traffic.
call these our three core levers.
So that’s improving your organic click-through rates independent of rankings.
By that I mean, yes, you’ll improve your organic click-through rates by going from position two to position one, but there are other ways you’ll do this also.
What are ways in which you improve your search results so that you stand out against search competitors, like getting rich results or rich snippets.
Ranking for more keywords
Next, there’s a ranking for more keywords.
That’s ranking for keywords that you simply didn’t before. It’s improving your organic reach.
So if you’re ranking for more keywords, you’re ahead of more people, that’s likely to drive more organic traffic to your website. So that’s the second lever that we will pull.
Improving existing rankings
Our last lever is improving our existing rankings. So that’s links, improving Core Web Vitals, adding more content. All of these big, known ranking factors that we will target with SEO tests, that’s an enormous driver of organic traffic.
So the three core levers, we’d like to be pulling a minimum of one among them to possess a legitimate
SEO hypothesis. If you come up with a test idea and you cannot find how it pulls one among these core levers,
then it’s probably not a real SEO hypothesis and you almost certainly shouldn’t run it. you would possibly want to think about running it as a CRO-only test instead, but it should not be your SEO testing program.
Now we will pull quote one among these levers. consider something like title tags.
That improves our rankings and it changes our appearance within the SERP, which improves our click-through rates and perhaps independent rankings also.
But that’s okay. We just want to capture that in our hypothesis that we’re getting to pull quiet one lever.
Prioritizing test ideas
So now that you simply skills to write down a robust SEO hypothesis,
Let’s mention the way to prioritize your SEO test ideas to try to do this, we use two core metrics. We glance at potential impact rather than the level of effort or LOE.
In this quadrant, I have, on the vertical axis, a high level of effort to a low level of effort, and on the horizontal axis,
I even have high impact to low impact. within the upper left-hand quadrant, I put “Avoid.” So those are high-level effort tests that also have low potential impact.
These are tests that are getting to have heavy uplift from your engineering team
but aren’t likely to tug a core lever and thus probably not an honest test for you to run and doubtless not worth some time. Just rule these tests out. Make them not even a priority.
Upper right-hand quadrant, we’ve high-impact tests that also are a high level of effort.
So those are things like internal links or anything that’s getting to involve tons of engineering support, but you recognize goes to potentially be an enormous win.
It strongly pulls one among these levers.
So you want to place these in, but they probably require project management. It involves multiple teams working together, that kind of thing. Plan those in later. They should not be your first three tests.
In the lower left-hand quadrant, we’ve low impact tests that also are a low level of effort.
I put this in amber because you ought to have these in your testing program. you continue to want to run them.
Again, they should not be your top priority tests, but sometimes they produce surprising results.
So these are things that perhaps pull a lever but are easy to implement.
Or they’re low impact changes, like adding alt text, that we all know don’t cause big swings in organic traffic, but, again, you would possibly get surprising results. Or they’re just good practice to try to do anyway.
Lastly, we’ve what I call the sweet spot.
Those are your high-impact tests that are low level of effort. So we would like to prioritize.
They pull the lever strongly but they don’t require that much effort for us to place in, and people are your biggest return on investment tests and you ought to prioritize them.
So now that we all know the way to write a robust SEO hypothesis and that we skill to believe in prioritizing our test ideas, let’s mention the primary three that you simply should run.
Test 1: Title tags
Test favorite, title tag tests, and yes, albeit Google is overwriting your title tags,
I’m definitely still testing them. We have seen wins even since that rollout, and it’s low-hanging fruit that you simply can grab.
Title tag tests impact both click-through rates independent of rankings and that they also impact your rankings. So that’s why there are such big swings that we get from them.
So something like adding price to your titles, good test, probably just targeting click-through rates. Something like adding a very big, primary keyword might impact both your click-through rates and your rankings.
Put these in. Low level of effort, high impact tests, they’re in our sweet spot.
Test 2: On-page keyword targeting
Next, we would like to run on-page keyword targeting tests.
So things that are changing the keyword targeting maybe to something sort of a higher search volume keyword. This will be adding content. this will be updating headings.
H1 changes fall under this category. I put these as low to medium impact and low to medium level of effort. So generally still pretty easy to run.
Not getting to cause as big of swings as title tags, but we want to prioritize those early, targeting our rankings.
Test 3: Structured data to win rich results
Third, I put structured data to win rich results. These are medium to high levels of effort, but also medium to high impact.
So this is often things like adding schema, and review schema to urge review snippets. they tend to involve a touch bit more effort because oftentimes you would possibly need engineering resources to urge that schema into your HTML, otherwise,
you might get the info somehow that you simply want to incorporate within the structured data.
But they’re important SEO tests, and they tend to possess a touch bit less lift than other higher impact tests that also are a higher level of effort.
Bonus: Internal linking
For example, I’ve put a bonus on here — internal linking tests.
These fall under that quadrant that are high impact, high level of effort.
Internal linking tests are a high level of effort not only because you would like engineering resources oftentimes to implement them. It is also really difficult to work out the measurement for these tests.
That’s because we’re changing two different pages.
We’re getting to expect to ascertain an impression on the pages where we’re adding the links.
We’re also expected to ascertain an impression on the pages that are receiving a link.
But these cause big wins for SEO, so we want to plan these tests in, but not one among your first three tests.
These are getting to be targeting your rankings.
So that is what I even have for you today.
Again, your first three SEO tests to run — are title tag tests, improving your keyword targeting on the page, and adding structured data to win rankings. As a bonus, plan in those internal linking tests,
but it’s getting to involve tons of various teams probably to urge those done.
And then, remember, if you are not returning to at least one of those core levers, if you are not improving either click-through rates independent of rankings,
ranking for more keywords, or improving your existing rankings, probably not an SEO test.